Your risk of a heart attack can significantly increase if you are exposed to air pollution even for a few hours, according to a new study. Researchers of the study from Yale University warn being exposed to very high levels of particles, mostly from emissions, could increase the risk by 10 per cent. The study's findings were originally published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The number of heart attack cases have been on the rise, despite there being a drop in the rates of death due to heart disease.Even though an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle are major contributing factors, air pollution and tiny particles can enter into the bloodstream, which can be damaging for our health.
For the study, 6,000 patient cases in Augsburg, Germany between 2005 and 2015 were analyzed. "This study confirms something that has long been suspected - air pollution's tiny particles can play a role in serious heart disease," said first author Dr Kai Chen, an assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health. Adding, "This is particularly true within the first few hours of exposure. Elevated levels of UFP are a serious public health concern."
In recent years, multiple studies have highlighted the need to tackle air pollution for several reasons. One study, published in the journal Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, warns it could cause irreversible blindness.
"We have found yet another reason why air pollution should be addressed as a public health priority, and that avoiding sources of air pollution could be worthwhile for eye health alongside other health concerns," lead author Professor Paul Foster from UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, told a news portal.
Adding, "While we cannot confirm yet that the association is causal, we hope to continue our research to determine whether air pollution does indeed cause glaucoma, and to find out if there are any avoidance strategies that could help people reduce their exposure to air pollution to mitigate the health risks."
Very high levels of air pollution could also have an impact on memory in a negative way, according to a study published in the journal Brain. "This is the first study to really show, in a statistical model, that air pollution was associated with changes in people's brains and that those changes were then connected with decline in memory performance,"Andrew Petkus, assistant professor of clinical neurology at the Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California (USC), told a news portal. Adding, "Our hope is that by better understanding the underlying brain changes caused by air pollution, researchers will be able to develop interventions to help people with or at risk for cognitive decline."
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